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If you want to learn the Photoshop CS3 features, then Up To Speed: Photoshop CS3 will get you there the fastest.

Book Review: Up To Speed – Photoshop CS3 by Ben Willmore

Up To Speed: Photoshop CS3 is touted as the only book that focuses on the new features of Adobe Photoshop CS3. For many of us who have been using Photoshop for a number of years, I have worked with it off and on since version 4 and owned it since version 6, so it is real important to have something that focuses on just what is new in Photoshop.

Written by award winning author of Adobe Photoshop Studio Techniques and Photoshop Hall of famer, Ben Willmore, Up To Speed: Photoshop CS3 is a thin book just over 150 pages. But it is a well focused book that is divided into seven chapters. Obviously, to work with this book you will need a computer, Mac or Windows based, and a copy of Adobe Photoshop CS3.

First, a couple of notes. Willmore does not cover Version Cue, the version management software that comes with the entire creative suite. He felt that this did not meet the objective of what's new with Photoshop. Second, while he does touch on a couple of the features of Photoshop CS3 Extended, this book is aimed at photographers, and hence these features go beyond that scope as well.

Chapter one, "Bridge CS3" covers the extensive changes to the Bridge module. These include the interface changes. Since many things have been rearranged, renamed or removed, this becomes a must read section for those who used the Bridge module in CS2.

Chapter two, "Camera Raw 4.0," is also a major revision and requires some significant brain shift in the way that you approach camera raw. These include some features from Adobe Photoshop Lightroom as well as a lot of both big and little changes to the product.

Chapter three, "Interface Changes," covers the new arrangements that have occurred in CS3. Things like the palettes which now can be grouped into docks that can cling to the edge of your screen. For some it will take some getting used to, others just don't like the changes. Here Willmore even shows you how to get some of the old interface back again.

Chapter four, "Adjustments," explains about the two significant changes that were made to the Adjustments menu; the Curves dialog box got a major update as has the Black and White Converter. Here the author covers these as well as the changes to HDR and 32-bit. This will be of interest to those who use 3D and video features of CS3.

Chapter five, "Tools," focuses on the Quick Selection Tool, which is in the process of dethroning the Magic Wand tool, and the Refine Edge Palette which is the new secret weapon for putting finishing touches on your selections and masks. Also covered are retouching tools and the Clone Source Palette.

Chapter six, "Layers," covers what the author calls the "…one stand out, blow-your-mind feature in Photoshop CS3," the Auto-Align and Auto-Blend Layers commands. Also covered are Smart Filters, which allow you to non-destructively apply filters to a layer, and the new Blending Modes.

Chapter seven, "General Improvements," covers all those things that are not big enough to fit into one of the other categories. These include Device Central which lets you create images for mobile devices, Vanishing Point which helps you with 3D wrap-around, the new printing dialog changes as well as a number of other updates.

If you are comfortable with Photoshop in general and are wanting to get up to speed with the new version, then Up To Speed: Photoshop CS3 will get you there quickly. If you have purchased a CS2 or earlier book and don't want to repurchase the same book again then Up To Speed: Photoshop CS3 is the book for you. If you haven't made the plunge to CS3 yet, Up To Speed: Photoshop CS3 may make you dive!

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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